Knowledgebase: Security
Laptop Program: Data Backup
Updated: 12 February 2021 12:11 PM

Backup your data

Every year, we have at least two or more Fourth Year Thesis students with lost projects and unrecoverable data. Please do not be this person. 

Always have at least two copies of your data in two different places in case one is lost or corrupted.

  • Use an external storage device to back up your files using Time Machine or Windows Backup.
  • Put important files on a cloud backup or file storage service like OneDrive, Google Drive or Adobe Creative Cloud

Cloud Backup or File Storage

Local Backup on External HDDs or SSDs

How do I backup my data for imaging?

Time Machine Backup on macOS

Use Time Machine on macOS to backup and restore your files.

Using Windows 10 Backup

Backup and Restore on Windows using File History.


What External Drive Should I Buy?

Hard drives come in multiple sizes and formats, with both USB, USB and Firewire drives, Thunderbolt, and small portable drives as well as full size desktop drives.

The primary differences are:

  • Speed of the drive: small portable hard disk drives typically run at a lower speed, and are less suitable for high-performance applications (such as editing video).
  • Size of the drive: we recommend at a drive at least twice as large as your primary drive in your laptop, or the project you're planning to work on (in the case of an external media drive)
  • Type of drive: Is it a spinning Hard disc drive (HDD)? or is it a Solid State Drive(SSD)? Hard disc drives are larger, cheaper, but mechanical and vulnerable to shock and vibration. Solid State Drives are faster, but generally lower capacity, and more expensive.
  • Drive Interface: Is it USB2 (slowest), USB3 (pretty fast), or Thunderbolt (fastest)


Here are some recommendations:

External Media Drive (for Video Editing, Animation or other large data files)

  • 7200rpm 500GB HDD or larger (USB3.0 or Thunderbolt)
  • 120GB or larger SSD External Media Drive (USB3.0 or Thunderbolt)

Example: LaCie Thunderbolt/USB3.0 Drive (SSD or HDD)

Backup Drive

  • 5400rpm 1TB HDD (USB3.0, USB2.0)

Example: LaCie Rikiki USB3.0 Drive (HDD)

Where Can I Purchase a Backup Hard Drive?

You can purchase backup hard drives Online (Amazon, Best Buy, Staples, Apple) or in person at the Apple Store Eaton Centre, Best Buy (Bay/Dundas) and Staples (University/Armoury).

What is Laptop Imaging?

Laptop imaging is how we install your operating system and applications. Learn more about laptop imaging.

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